Letter: Hypocritical Patriotism

I am deeply troubled by the article “GW readies freedom quilt (Sept. 3, p. 12).” To create a giant American flag quilt in order to “(make) a visual reminder of pride in our country,” for a “freedom fair,” is an act of sheer hypocrisy.

To commemorate September 11, it would be far more appropriate to draw attention to the destruction of our freedom, not by Osama Bin Laden, but by the Bush administration, through the passage of legislation such as the “USA-PATRIOT” act that was strong-armed through Congress last year. Are secret military tribunals, harassment of immigrants and a perpetual war against any country with oil to steal the kind of “freedom” I am supposed to take pride in?

The kind of flag-waving that this quilt symbolizes only encourages our president to continue his assault on civil rights at home and on civilian lives abroad. As the son of an immigrant myself, I am frightened to hear people like Rep. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) say that “every Muslim that comes over the state line” should be arrested. Or when I hear assistant attorney general Michael Chertoff say, “let’s be clear, they’ve overstayed their visit, they don’t belong here” when he refers to immigrants. All the while, one of the head architects of this madness, John Ashcroft, is telling us that we must “watch what we say” in order to protect “freedom.” This kind of Orwellian double speak is nothing to be festive about.

Since September 11, immigrants and non-immigrants alike, particularly those who are Muslim or of middle-eastern descent, have been subject to racist threats and attacks. The surge in extreme nationalism following September 11 has also inspired a rapid increase in the membership and activity of white supremacist groups in this country, such as the neo-Nazi National Alliance, which recently staged a large demonstration in D.C.

Racist attacks and the shredding of hard-earned civil rights (not to mention a war without end) will continue unless we quit hiding behind the flag and take a stand against what the Bush administration and its lackeys in Congress are doing.

-Christian Wright

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